Right now, there’s a surgeon just four miles away operating on one of my best friends. They told us the surgery would last over three hours. Although he’s been sick for years, the root of the problem wasn’t discovered until just last week. When he found out healing was actually a possibility, he was a ball of emotions. Beyond grateful and yet frustrated it took this long to figure it all out. Years of his life, greatly affected by something that could be cured in only three hours.
All it took was him finally seeing the right doctor.
Being a Young Life leader is hard work. Especially in the spring. Club numbers feel low. You’re trying to raise a massive amount of money to get your friends to summer camp. It’s easy to get discouraged, to just want to throw in the towel.
When we feel weak, it’s of utmost importance that we take time to visit the right doctor and figure out exactly what the problem is.
The season of Lent is intentionally designed to be a time for a “spiritual health check-up.” A chance for us to examine our hearts and see if there’s anything off, any sickness that needs to be healed.
A few weeks ago, we gathered together with some Young Life staff from neighboring cities. One of the wiser folks in the room led us in a convicting exercise to help us determine the state of our “spiritual health.” He guided us through the words Jesus spoke to the crowd and his disciples in Matthew 23.
It was so personally powerful for me that I wanted to share it with you. Grab a Bible, open to Matthew 23, and ask the Lord to reveal areas in your heart that need healing from the Great Physician.
Spiritual Health Checkup: Matthew 23
Read verses 1-3. Think about what Jesus is saying. You can use the questions below to follow along as you read the Scripture.
1-3: “They do not practice what they preach.”
- Am I living the life I’m calling others to live?
- Am I hiding behind a mask of hypocrisy?
- Are my actions and my words congruent?
4: “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders.”
- Am I filled with grace?
- Am I motivating others with fear, shame or guilt?
- Motivating with grace is way more expensive and much slower.
- Am I “shoulding” on people?
- After people are with me, do they leave feeling lighter and more free or heavier and more burdened?
- Am I speaking/living for their benefit or for mine?
5-12: “Everything they do is done for others to see, to be seen as important.”
- Am I living out of humility or pride?
- Does my private life mirror my public life?
- How do I respond to criticism and correction?
- Am I teachable and submissive to authority?
- Do I compete with others more than I celebrate others?
- Am I quick to point out flaws in others and to build up myself?
13-14: “They shut the door to the rule and reign of God.”
- Am I kingdom-minded?
- Do I think “my ministry” is more important than someone else’s, that I do it best?
- Do I consider others more important than myself?
- Other teammates, other YL teams, other schools, other areas, etc…
15: “Addition or Multiplication?”
- Am I trying to “convert” people or “disciple” people?
- Am I giving students a chance to lead?
- Have numbers become more important than names?
- Does our YL club feel like a closed-off bubble, or do others want to be a part of what’s going on?
16-24: “Rationalization and Justification“
- Am I living by faith or making excuses?
- Am I faithful in the little things that no one sees?
25: “Impurity and Congruence“
- Does my outside match my inside?
- Where am I getting my needs met?
- Do I have any debt/debtor relationships? (Via Andy Stanley)
- Greed- “I owe me”
- After club do I indulge in unhealthy habits because I deserve to “do something for me?”
- Anger- “You owe me”
- Anyone I need to forgive?
- Jealousy- “God owes me”
- Am I comparing myself to others or celebrating others?
- Guilt- “I owe you”
- Is there unconfessed sin in my life.
- Greed- “I owe me”
27-28: “Image Management”
- Am I trying to please God or to please man? (Galatians 1:6)
- Do I make decisions out of fear of what people will think of me or out of God’s call on my life?
- Am I talking to much or am I willing to listen?
- Do I seek first to understand or do I just want to be understood?
- Am I stubborn and think it has to be done MY way or the highway?
- Are we as a YL team/area functioning as a machine or a mission?
- Do we remember the “why” of what we’re doing?
Below are 20 additional questions to consider when taking an honest inventory of your life.
- Are the fruits of the spirit evident and present in my life?
- Am I drawing closer to God and others or am I pulling away and avoiding community?
- Am I known deeply by anyone?
- Do I have an attitude of humility or entitlement?
- Am I impatient?
- Am I teachable?
- Do I have a desire to grow and learn from those more mature than me?
- Am I living independently or am I willing to ask for help?
- Am I trying to meet my own needs or allowing God to be my provider?
- Is comparison stealing my joy?
- Do I feel resentment towards anyone?
- Am I spending my leisure time in mindless entertainment, or have I learned how to rest in the Lord?
- Am I quick to blame others or do I willingly accept responsibility?
- We do by training what we can’t do by trying. Am I living a life of habits/rhythms/disciplines that is leading me towards health?
- Is God’s Word alive in me?
- Am I able to be alone and sit quietly with God?
- Am I easily annoyed?
- Do I believe the best about people?
- Is my heart for people getting bigger or smaller?
- Is my heart for God getting bigger or smaller?
Look back over the “spiritual health checkup” list above.
Which areas of your life are most susceptible right now?
Where do you need God to heal you?
Where do you need God to remind you of the truth when you’ve been believing a lie?
The point of Lent isn’t to dwell on our sickness, but to point us to our need for healing. When we realize our brokenness, we see our need for the cross. And when we see the cross, we long for the empty tomb. Easter is coming!
“Jesus, give me such a glimpse of your Resurrected Self. Give me complete self-forgetfulness, and let me think only of you. Come to me like the scream of a rushing, mighty wind.“